NRL: SBW hype taking pressure off teammates

Sonny Bill Williams and teammate Michael Jennings share a laugh during a Sydney Roosters NRL training session. Photo /Getty Images
Sonny Bill Williams and teammate Michael Jennings share a laugh during a Sydney Roosters NRL training session. Photo /Getty Images

Sydney Roosters playmaker James Maloney is grateful teammate Sonny Bill Williams is such a popular man.

While he hasn't bought into the hype surrounding Williams' first clash on Friday against Canterbury since he walked out on the NRL club in 2008, Maloney says the build up has taken some pressure off him.

"It's great for me," the five-eighth told reporters on Wednesday.

"Sonny deals with everything that comes up. It's just, I suppose, the way his life is, really.

"He draws a crowd everywhere he goes, so it's nothing new for him.

"As a side, we're sort of shutting it all out and just focusing on what we need to do."

Maloney said the team hadn't spoken much about Williams' maiden match-up against the Bulldogs, but he does expect him to cop a fair bit of stick from fans - although nothing he hasn't dealt with before.

"It's more about the media and the fans where the issue is coming from and being beat up," he said.

"It'll make for a fiery game, no doubt.

"At the end of the day, (the Bulldogs are) looking to find some form and we don't want to let them find it against us."

Maloney, who joined the Roosters from the Warriors this season, is also surprisingly thankful for the quick turnaround between Sunday's 24-22 loss to Canberra and Friday's game at Allianz Stadium.

He said it'll give them a chance to make amends sooner rather than later.

"It was just obviously a pretty disappointing way to finish the game down there ... (but) a short turnaround, it's a blessing in disguise," he said.

"(There's) not too long to dwell on it and we can move on this week.

"It's about fixing some of the issues we had last week and that's our biggest thing.

"We know what we can do when we're playing good football and at stages last week, and the week just gone, we definitely had some issues and we've got to correct them."

-AAP

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